Consultation on the Inquiry's recommendations

Overview

The Victorian Government commissioned the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce in September 2018 in response to concerns about the wages and conditions of workers in the on-demand or ‘gig’ economy.

The Inquiry was chaired by Natalie James, former Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Inquiry has completed its investigations and submitted a report to Government. The Report was published in July 2020. It is available to view and download here:

Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce 2020 (PDF 2.86 MB)

The Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce makes 20 recommendations aimed at better protecting on-demand workers.

We invited Victorians to make submissions to Government about all or some of the recommendations in the Report. The deadline for providing written submissions was 13 October 2020.

Submissions have been treated in confidence. This allowed people to frankly share their views.

The Victorian Government will now consider all feedback received before responding to the Inquiry’s Report. We might seek to meet with some organisations or individuals as part of this process.


How to have your say

The deadline for submissions was 13 October 2020.

All submissions are being treated in confidence and will not be published.

Collection Notice

The Department of Premier and Cabinet collects your personal information (name and email) through this form so that we can contact you about your submission. We will not disclose your personal information without your consent, except where we are required to do so by law. If you do not wish to provide your personal information, we will not be able to contact you about your submission or identify your submission if you wish to access it, make a correction or need technical support.

For further information on DPC’s collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, please email contact@dpc.vic.gov.au.

The purpose of the consultation and invitation to provide submissions is to collect information about the recommendations in the Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce (PDF 2.86 MB).

This consultation is being conducted on a confidential basis. The information that a person or organisation gives us may be used in the production of the Government’s response to the Report of the Inquiry. Information will not be used in a way that identifies a person or organisation. The Government’s response to the Report of the Inquiry may be made public, including through being tabled in Parliament. Information you provide to the Department may also be used to inform future policy development work of the Victorian Government.

Information that a person provides to the Department will be collected, stored and used in accordance with law, including the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic). Information collected by the consultation may be the subject of a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act). Information may be exempt from release or production under the FOI Act. Processes exist under the FOI Act for us to consult with persons to whom information relates before it is released.

The Inquiry

The Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce

You might have heard about a new way of providing services called the 'gig economy', also called the 'on-demand' economy.

Put simply, it’s when we use technology to match people that need work done with people who want to do that work.

It has become a big part of how we live. Australians use apps or go online to have food delivered, get a ride somewhere, or book a neighbour to mow their lawns.

Some people say that the on-demand economy gives workers freedom and choice to decide how and when to work. Others suggest that it also improves services for consumers and helps businesses to reach more customers.

But there are also some concerns over whether people in the gig economy are being paid enough, whether the work is safe, or whether there are adequate protections for workers.

The Victorian Government set up the Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce to consider all of these matters.

Over 18 months, the Inquiry carried out an extensive consultation process. It analysed 94 written submissions and met with more than 200 participants, who provided valuable information and feedback.

It gained extra information in documents and correspondence from a number of organisations.

The Inquiry also commissioned a national survey to help fill gaps in existing knowledge about the on-demand workforce. The data collected gave the Inquiry insight into the characteristics of people working on demand, and quantifiable data about their experiences as gig workers.

The Inquiry submitted its report to Government in June 2020. The Report is available to view and download here:

Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce 2020 (PDF 2.86 MB)

The Victorian Government is considering the Inquiry’s recommendations and has sought further feedback from Victorians on the proposals through a consultation process.

The Victorian Government will respond to the Report in due course.


Survey reveals true size of Australia's on-demand workforce

24 June 2020

Australia’s largest ever published survey regarding on-demand work shows that 7.1 per cent of respondents were working through a digital platform at the time they were surveyed or had done so in the previous 12 months.

The survey of more than 14,000 people was commissioned by the Victorian Government to support the Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce. While there has been much debate about the gig economy, little has been known about its size or the characteristics of the workforce.

The survey was carried out by researchers from Queensland University of Technology, the University of Adelaide and University of Technology Sydney.

The sample of people surveyed represented the Australian population by age, gender and location. The research findings provide insight into the size of the gig economy and the people working within it.

Download the final report of the research findings here:

Digital Platform Work in Australia: Prevalence, Nature and Impact


Natalie James highlights themes from Inquiry submissions at Youth Summit 2019

5 April 2019

One theme emerging from the submissions to the Inquiry into the On-demand Workforce has been the value of flexibility and the capacity for on-demand work to meet a diverse range of personal needs and lifestyles, said Inquiry chair Natalie James at the Victorian Youth Summit 2019 in April.

She explained that some submissions noted that there are low barriers to entry for some parts of this sector, and suggested the gig economy can provide options for young people struggling to find paid work through traditional employment arrangements.

However, she said submissions have also highlighted the effects on individual workers – such as insecure work, or the lack of superannuation and leave.

Download the full transcript of Natalie James’s speech here:

Natalie James, keynote speech, Victorian Youth Summit 2019


Natalie James, chair of the Inquiry

The Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce is chaired by Natalie James.

Natalie James is also a partner at Deloitte, where she works with businesses to help them create fairer and more positive workplaces.

Natalie was Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman for five years, from 2013-2018. As Ombudsman, she led public debate about whether businesses are obeying work laws in Australia.

Natalie also has experience working for the federal government. Before she became Ombudsman, she was Chief Counsel at the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and oversaw the development of workplace laws such as the Fair Work Act.

In 2018, the Council of Small Business named Natalie as a Small Business Champion for her work helping businesses to understand and obey complex work laws.

The Inquiry and the Chair are supported by a Secretariat provided by Industrial Relations Victoria.


Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are as follows:

To inquire into, consider and report to the Minister for Industrial Relations on:

A. The extent and nature of the on-demand economy in Victoria, for the purposes of considering its impact on both the Victorian labour market and Victorian economy more broadly, including but not limited to:

I. the legal or work status of persons working for, or with, businesses using online platforms;

II. the application of workplace laws and instruments to those persons, including accident compensation, payroll or similar taxes, superannuation and health and safety laws;

III. whether contracting or other arrangements are being used to avoid the application of workplace laws and other statutory obligations; and

IV. the effectiveness of the enforcement of those laws.

B. In making recommendations, the Inquiry should have regard to matters including:

I. the capacity of existing legal and regulatory frameworks to protect the rights of vulnerable workers;

II. the impact on the health and safety of third parties such as consumers and the general public, for example, road safety;

III. responsibility for insurance coverage and implications for State revenue;

IV. the impacts of on-demand services on businesses operating in metropolitan, regional or rural settings;

V. regulation in other Australian jurisdictions and in other countries, including how other jurisdictions regulate the on-demand workforce;

VI. Australia’s obligations under international law, including International Labour Organization Conventions;

VII. the limitations of Victoria’s legislative powers over industrial relations and related matters and the capacity to regulate these matters; and

VIII. the ability of any Victorian regulatory arrangements to operate effectively in the absence of a national approach.


Submissions

The Inquiry received submissions (including some supplementary submissions) from more than 90 people and organisations, including workers, unions, businesses and academics.

Most of the submissions have been published below.

If a submitter requested that their submission be partially confidential, the confidential parts of the submission have not been published.

If a submitter requested that the submission be wholly confidential, the submission has not been published.

Text has been redacted in some submissions to remove personally identifying details, and to comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).

Text from some submissions has been redacted to remove potentially defamatory material.

The views stated in the submissions published are those of the authors of each submission and not the Inquiry, the chair of the Inquiry or of the Victorian Government.